Culinary Arts

The population is growing, and so is people's appetite for good food. Restaurants, hotels, resorts, clubs, catering operations, contract food services, and healthcare facilities are all looking for educated, qualified culinary professionals. Central Piedmont will train you in the right skills for the right career at the right price.

What You Will Learn

Culinary arts refers to more than just cooking classes — it encompasses the art and practice of all aspects of food preparation, cooking, final presentation, and culinary management. Training in the culinary arts prepares you for a wide variety of career paths in a dynamic and exciting culinary landscape. You will gain theoretical knowledge and practical applications that provide critical competencies to meet industry demands, including environmental stewardship, operational efficiencies, and professionalism. Courses you till take include sanitation and safety, baking, culinary fundamentals, production skills, nutrition, customer service, purchasing and cost control, and human resource management. Courses focusing on global cuisines, farm-to-table concepts, and menu design equip you with the in-demand skills employers are looking for. Upon completion of the program, you:

  • will be able to work effectively as a team member to produce prepared foods, maintaining prescribed Serv-Safe sanitation standards and safe use of equipment and small wares
  • earn the professional designation of Certified Culinarian (if a member of the Charlotte American Culinary Federation Junior Chapter). Certification through the American Culinary Federation demonstrates skill, knowledge, and professionalism to the food service industry. Certified Culinarians within a commercial foodservice are responsible for preparing and cooking sauces, cold food, fish, soups and stocks, meats, vegetables, eggs, and other food items
  • will have completed Serv-Safe training and will be able to demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed in setting high food safety standards to keep your operation, your customers, and your employees safe

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Why Choose Central Piedmont

Central Piedmont boasts one of the top culinary arts schools in the country. Our culinary arts program is also the only program in Charlotte that is accredited by the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation Accrediting Commission (ACFEFAC) and has achieved "Exemplary Status." Ours was also the only culinary program in North Carolina to be named to the Best Choice Schools' (BCS) list of "Top 20 Best Culinary Schools on the East Coast," where we ranked 14.

In our culinary arts program, you will:

  • learn on state-of-the-art equipment
  • experience a variety of settings; classroom, lab, and federal work-study
  • produce fantastic culinary creations using the best products available
  • learn from proven industry professionals who have seen it all
  • enjoy small class settings and individual attention to help achieve your career goals

You will also have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the Greenway Restaurant and to participate in the Culinary Club.

Real World Education

At Central Piedmont, your education goes beyond what you learn in class. We offer numerous opportunities for you to enhance your learning — and to make friends, network, and pursue your passions — through clubs and organizations, sports, events and activities, leadership opportunities, job experience, volunteer experiences, visual and performing arts, and even international experiences.

All these things I never thought that I would do, are the things I’ve always wanted to do... And now that I'm allowing my life to be what it is, I’m becoming the person who I wanted to be the whole entire time. Desiree Kinker '19 Read Desiree's story in the Charlotte Observer

Careers with a Culinary Arts Degree

The North Carolina hospitality industry is composed of 17,500 restaurants and 1,700 lodging establishments across the state. Combined, these businesses generate $20.2 billion in sales annually. The North Carolina hospitality industry employs 475,000 North Carolinians and accounts for 11 percent of the state's workforce. Our culinary arts graduates leave the program eligible to pursue American Culinary Federation certification and fully prepared for entry-level opportunities in established, full-service companies as prep cooks, line cooks, station chefs, and more. You’ll also complete ServSafe training, earning skills and abilities needed for setting high food safety standards wherever you choose to work. With additional experience, graduates can advance their careers to pursue opportunities, including sous chef, pastry chef, executive chef, or foodservice manager. Visit Central Piedmont’s Career Coach for detailed culinary arts career opportunities, salary information, and job openings.

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